The University of Illinois System has expanded its commitment to sustainability through its international equity allocation, investing $144 million in an environmentally and socially focused strategy launched by BlackRock Inc. This investment follows the endowment’s initial investment in 2020 in a similar BlackRock strategy focused on domestic markets.
Based on the conviction that more sustainable portfolios will drive better long-term investment outcomes, BlackRock’s strategy tilts toward companies that rate highly on economically relevant environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria within the MSCI World Ex U.S. equities index.
BlackRock’s proprietary framework evaluates more than 250 key ESG performance indicators across 77 industries related to 15 distinct ESG issues that mirror the U of I System’s values on sustainability and environmental protection.
“The decision to expand our commitment to sustainable investing is driven by the same mission that guides the U of I System in our day-to-day operations: to serve the people of Illinois now and in the future,” system President Tim Killeen said.
The U of I System’s sustainability efforts are inspired by the goals of its Guiding Principles, which lay out its position on six pressing academic and campus culture issues currently facing higher education across the country.
“Our sustainability legacy will reflect the effort we put into it. By acting mindfully, we will leave our universities, our state, and our world better than we found it,” the Guiding Principles state.
Further, the strategy aligns with the Illinois Sustainable Investing Act, legislation that compels public and government agencies to develop and implement sustainable investment policies.